Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Swans and Romans

At Acton Trussell that is ...
... views from the windows of Rock n Roll  ... St James' Church ...
... and swans and the M6!

Acton Trussell is 2½ miles northeast from Penkridge and 3½ miles southeast from Stafford. It is mentioned in Doomsday:

‘the Bishop of Chester holds Actone (Acton). Robert holds it from him. [... hides] Land for 4 ploughs. In lordship 1; 10 villagers and 8 smallholders with 4 ploughs. A mill at 2s; meadow, 8 acres; woodland 3 furlongs long and 2 furlongs wide. Value before 1066, 5s; 
now 20s.’

The name Acton is derived from the Saxon words ac-tun meaning ‘oak-tree farmstead.’ In order to eliminate confusion Norman administrators introduced the practice of manorial suffixes, whereby the name of the predominant family was affixed to the common place-name. So by 1481 the settlement was named Acton Trussel after the Trussel family, who are named in manorial records from 1342. In May 1985 the semi hexagonal wing of a Roman villa was discovered south of Acton Trussell. 
Ongoing excavations have shown this to be 4th century with 1st century origins.

The Roman Villa
In 1979 field studies were carried out in the village of Acton Trussell some 5km south of the county town of Stafford, and 8km from Pennocrvcivm. The studies initially prompted by the geographically detached church of St James (see photo), and the possibility of finding evidence of a shifted village, however during field walking a quantity of Romano-British pottery sherds, and two coins, were recovered. The next 4 years were spent trying to locate the source of this material, private flights over the area, and more field walking produced nothing. In 1985, the field to the south, away from the village, was ploughed, field walking not only recovered pottery sherds but also fragments of building materials, it was clear the source was close by, and the church became the center of interest. In May 1985 the semi hexagonal wing of a Roman villa was discovered. the wing protruded from the east side of the churchyard. The excavation has continued and is concentrating on the enclosures and their contents. Only open for visitors on Sundays

The walk across the field to the side of the Moat House ...
... where I noticed about 10 circles like the one above - no particular spacing and slightly different sizes
Although the notice board for St James' Church stated that information regarding the key holders was 'in the porch', it wasn't so unfortunately we couldn't gain access today.
Would this perhaps been part of the original moat?
The Moat Hotel was the original farm house 
We couldn't fail to notice the major roadworks running by the canal from Park Gate Lock which start/end here in Acton Trussell by the church
old - red telephone box ... older - The Old School House
We spoke to on old gentleman as we looked at this chimney on a converted barn, he told us that it was built around 1835 and was used for a steam engine which drove all the machinery in the barn, thresher and mill stone.  He apparently owns the farm which is still working, the farm house being further out of the village, possible Actonmill Farm.
Looking down the hill from the church 
Another part of the old moat perhaps.
A very peaceful setting
The swans must build the nest a bit higher each year - there are no eggs in it yet though ...
... and back to our mooring space opposite the Moat House.

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